The 5th Sunday after Pascha continues the pattern of alternating the Post-Paschal Gospel lessons between having men and then women being the focus. The 2nd Sunday focuses on the Apostle Thomas, the fourth on the paralytic man and the 6th on the blind man; while the 3rd focuses on the Myrrhbearing Women, and the 5th on the Samaritan woman.
Men and women both respond to Christ, becoming His disciples through a variety of encounters with Him both before and after His resurrection. One does not have to be part of the chosen circle of apostles to come to believe in Him. Even having doubts about Christ do not disqualify one from eventually being chosen to follow Him. In part, the Gospel lesson of the Samaritan woman (John 4:5-42) includes these words:
The Lord came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”
Encounters with Christ do not just occur in “religious” settings such as when we are in prayer. Even those looking for Him are sometimes surprised by an encounter with Him. We come to realize He speaks to us in our daily lives, even in our fears and disbelief, in our sorrows, in our despair, in our sin, in our suffering, in our separation from others.
“In order to meet her at Jacob’s well, Jesus chooses the hour when He knows that the Samaritan woman come to draw her water each day. It is in our daily needs – in our daily labor – that Jesus wants to meet us.” (A Monk of the Eastern Church, Jesus: A Dialogue with the Savior, p 64)